Heavy drinking risk higher among those living closer to bars
The nearer someone lives to a bar, the greater the chance of them becoming a heavy drinker, according to a new study.
Researchers from Finland followed nearly 55,000 Finnish adults for seven years and found that those who moved closer to bars were more likely to increase their drinking.
"Moving place of residence close to, or far from, a bar appears to be associated with a small corresponding increase or decrease in risky alcohol behavior," the Daily Mail quoted lead researcher Jaana Halonen, of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Kuopio, as saying.
As a person moved one kilometre closer to a bar, he is likely to increase alcohol consumption by almost 17 per cent, the researchers said.
'Heavy drinking' meant more than 10 ounces of distilled alcohol a week for men, and about seven ounces a week for women.
The link doesn't prove that mere distance from a bar alone causes people to drink more, they said.
Halonen said that one possibility is that drinkers choose to live near bars.
Among people who were an average of 400 feet from the nearest drinking establishment, a little over nine per cent were heavy drinkers. Of those 2.4 km away, some 7.5 per cent were heavy drinkers.
Halonen said that for any one person, the risk of becoming a binge drinker is of course tied to a whole range of factors.
However, she said that it's possible that restricting bar hours, or other alcohol retailers' operating hours, could limit risky drinking among locals.
The study has been published in the journal Addiction.